I just read an excerpt from Chris Clarke’s speech at the APG/Campaign Battle of Big Thinking (Its posted on www.nitro-group.com). I have liked Nitro since they started up and Chris is always stimulating, but despite what this piece suggests Nitro didn’t take on the world and win purely by basing their fees on client sales and it certainly isn’t the simple solution to the woes of the marketing sector.
Chis like others bemoans the fact that agencies aren’t regarded with the same respect or enjoy the same high-level relationships with clients that they did years ago and that’s a fact, but you get the respect you deserve, the world is a different and far more complex place these days and as marketing is a reflection of the world, so too is it.
Chris mentions holistic in passing, but actually that’s the key. One reason why agencies were members of their clients inner sanctum in the past was that their scope was all embracing, at least as far as marketing then was concerned. These days the subject is so broad that it is hard to imagine a single business being sensitive and able to respond to a client’s every marketing need. The consequence is that traditional marketing services firms have become implementors or purveyors of components of strategy – an incomplete offering that relegates them to the mid-tier of suppliers and often liaison at mid-management level where the decisions that matter are responded to rather than made.
The golden boys at the top table these days are the owners of strategy, BCG and the like, which is why business consultancies and media planners are grabbing the loin’s share of sector growth (see Jim Taylor’s Space Race). It’s tough for a marcoms agency to slip into the strategic role. Many have made themselves look like a poacher turning to game-keeping in the process, which is hardly credible, but there is a way that a traditional marketing services business can segue into the big league.
Full Effect Marketing is New Model Marketing, an approach that answers the demands of today’s marketplace. It improves ROI for client and opens doors to future growth for marketing services firms. It acknowledges that business and marketing strategy is one, that all businesses are marketing businesses and every function in every business has a marketing role to play. It helps organisations understand the role of their brands and shows them how to build communities around them that will attract new customers and make existing ones never want to leave. Full Effect Marketing embraces a range of tools to tackle specific tasks along the way and because New Model Marketing is complex Full Effect Marketing is built around an essential methodology that is designed to manage a complex task.
The obstacle facing most marketing services firms these days is prejudice. That’s internal at least as much as external. Internal in the form of the straight-jacketing attitudes structures and practise that were fine when marketing was simple and time scales were long, but redundant among the complexities of the millisecond millennium.
It is possible to revive an existing marcoms company by introducing new thinking, new perspectives and new structures and practises, and it is equally true that such an agency can look credible in the client’s boardroom – I know, I have been helping agencies make this transformation for a few years now. However, it can’t happen overnight and we will doubtless continue to witness the demise of agencies who started the journey too late.
Results-driven fees are an interesting and relevant innovation in the context of a bigger mind-shift, but I am sure they are not the only reason that Nitro is successful and adoption of the principal is unlikely to bring equal success to your business.
December 11, 2007